Hall of Fame Baltimore Orioles player and baseball legend, Brooks Robinson, has passed away at the age of 86. The team announced his death on September 26, but did not disclose the cause. Robinson was considered to be baseball’s greatest defensive third baseman ever and had an illustrious career with the Orioles.
During his 23-year career with Baltimore, Robinson was an all-star for 15 seasons and won the Gold Glove award as the top fielder at his position for 16 years in a row. His ability to catch any ball hit in his direction earned him the nickname “the Human Vacuum Cleaner.” Robinson was a well-loved figure in Baltimore even after his retirement in 1977.
In 1964, Robinson was named the American League’s MVP and was a core player in the Orioles dynasty of the next decade, along with fellow Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson. The team reached the postseason six times and the World Series four times during this period. Despite losing the World Series to the New York Mets in 1969, Robinson’s reputation for defensive prowess was already established.
One of the highlights of Robinson’s career was the 1970 World Series, where the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine” in five games. Robinson was named the Series MVP after delivering stellar performances both in the field and at the plate. He set the tone in the first game by making a spectacular throw to first base to stop a Cincinnati rally and hitting a home run to win the game for Baltimore. Robinson continued to make clutch plays during the Series and finished with a batting average of .429, two home runs, and six runs batted in.
Beyond his defensive skills, Robinson was known for his nimble hands, quick release on his throws, and instinct for anticipating where a ball would be hit. He was always obliging when asked for an autograph and received adulation with common decency, making friends with fans rather than simply having them. Robinson was easily elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, the first year he was eligible.
Robinson’s impact extended beyond his playing career. He worked as an Orioles television broadcaster from 1978 to 1993 and was involved in various businesses after his retirement. In 2015, he sold most of his memorabilia and donated the proceeds to a charitable foundation he and his wife started. The Orioles retired Robinson’s No. 5 in 1977, and a statue of him was unveiled outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2011.
Baseball has lost one of its greatest players and ambassadors with the passing of Brooks Robinson. His legacy as the most exceptional defensive third baseman and his contributions to the sport will forever be remembered.